Superintendent's Newsletter

October 2017

STEAM Theme

Incredible learning continues to occur here in District 13 for staff and students alike. Our professional learning opportunities for staff help to improve their understanding of changes in curriculum, implications of data and improvements in instruction. Our students’ experience in grades pre-K through 12 is enhanced when teachers’ knowledge and skills are improved. Our expanded pre-K program is providing integrated learning and social opportunities for our youngest learners. Students are engaged in STEAM learning activities including building ramps, using magnetic boards with gears, using the outside water tables with float and sink kits, making “goop”, studying height and length, building towers and train tracks and then charting results and seeing how what they have built is represented in chart form. Students are also learning what it means to be a scientist and how to stay healthy.


STEAM learning is integrated throughout the day in our elementary schools and we are in year two of robust self-directed learning in our Innovation Lab at Strong Middle School. Students in the lab, taught by Mrs. Tina Hurlburt are able to select different learning modules. Some of the favorite modules for our middle schoolers include: woodworking, forensics, robotics, and health and fitness. In the woodworking module there is no specific project prescribed. Students are asked to design a project of their choosing, come up with a project plan and a cutting list. They learn how to use various hand tools and power tools and have to pass safety tests in order to be able to use them. In health and fitness, two seventh grade students just completed a phenomenal redesign of a climbing shoe, recorded their process, trials and successes, and presented it to the class. Click the link to watch:


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B89KTYk1iE64ZEU1Qlk1UjBwckU/view


Students are empowered in this class by their use of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication as much as the product they create.


Next week we will hold our first ever STEAM Camp sessions at Brewster, Lyman and Memorial where 22 students in each location will be involved in STEAM activities for 3 hours. Students will be exploring, imagining and innovating as they are engaged in guided inquiry to problem-solve, collaborate and work through the creative process. Some activities that your child may participate in are making mini launchers, using science to create art, and engineering challenges as well.This session is being held on the afternoon of an early release day for professional learning. This year there are 6 days built into the school calendar where student are dismissed early so that staff are able to participate in professional learning. The Board voted last year to follow this schedule this year and to reassess before approving next year’s calendar. After next Tuesday there are 4 remaining early release days for professional learning: December 6th, January 12th, February 8th, and May 10th. We will notify you if additional STEAM Camp sessions will be held on the remaining days.


Our planning has begun this year for new courses to be offered at the high school so that the STEAM learning and activities that students have been engaged in at the elementary and middle levels can continue in high school.

Play Ball... under the lights at CRHS!

Due to the partnership between Regional School District 13 and the Benchwarmers our senior night football game originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, November 11th will be played on Friday night November 10th under the lights! Temporary lights will be rented by the Benchwarmers organization to support this fun event for our school, families and communities. In addition to recognizing our senior football players and cheerleaders, we will honor local veterans. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the Wally Camp Sports Complex. Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $3 for students and children under 5 are free. Stay tuned for more information at the date gets closer.

Utilization

Last year at this time we were meeting with architects and parent groups and gathering ideas for programming and school renovations. Our focus as a district has changed from examining renovation options to maximizing the efficient use of existing resources, including flexible space, while meeting the programmatic needs of students. This means that the Utilization Committee of the Board of Education will work in conjunction with administration in addressing the need to most efficiently use our existing buildings. Given the current economic reality in our state and in the foreseeable future, it is imperative that we maintain only as many buildings as we need and look at new and different ways of enhancing student learning and experience. An in-school committee is being formed to examine program/instructional approach implications. Parents and community members will be invited to participate once the group has established a meeting schedule.

50th Class Reunion

On Monday, October 16th members of the class of 67 visited Strong Middle School, formerly Durham High School, to end a weekend of reunion festivities. The group was welcomed by Dr. Veronesi and Mr. Sadinsky who lead the group on a tour of the building and a walk down memory lane.